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New Caledonia Travel Guide

Balade to Ouégoa

Balade, 16 km northwest of Pouébo, also has a notable place in New Caledonian history, as this is where Captain Cook landed in 1774. Later, Rear Admiral Fébvrier-Despointes annexed New Caledonia for France at a ceremony near Balade on September 24, 1853, as an iron obelisk (erected in 1913) on a hill above the highway proclaims.

Just before the monument is the short access road to lovely Mahamate Beach, where Cook's men observed an eclipse of the sun on September 6, 1774. The first Catholic mass was celebrated here on Christmas Day, 1843.

A traditional double-hulled canoe that sailed here from the Isle of Pines in 1993 for the 150th anniversary can be seen behind a plaque here. Lots of nice little secluded spots to camp freelance can be found along this beach, and there's even a water tap just before the canoe. Keep an eye on your gear here.

The Diahot River, draining the far north of Grande Terre into Harcourt Bay, is navigable for 32 km. Ouégoa is a Caldoche farming community that attends church in a Quonset hut behind the mairie. After the bridge, traffic along the road to Koumac increases.